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The Impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs for Beginning Teachers: A Critical Review of the Research

Abstract

"This review critically examines 15 empirical studies, conducted since the mid 1980s, on the effects of support, guidance, and orientation programs -- collectively known as induction -- for beginning teachers. Most of the studies reviewed provide empirical support for the claim that support and assistance for beginning teachers have a positive impact on three sets of outcomes: teacher commitment and retention, teacher classroom instructional practices, and student achievement. Of the studies on commitment and retention, most showed that beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction had higher job satisfaction, commitment, or retention. For classroom instructional practices, the majority of studies reviewed showed that beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction performed better at various aspects of teaching, such as keeping students on task, developing workable lesson plans, using effective student questioning practices, adjusting classroom activities to meet students' interests, maintaining a positive classroom atmosphere, and demonstrating successful classroom management. For student achievement, almost all of the studies showed that students of beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction had higher scores, or gains, on academic achievement tests. There were, however, exceptions to this overall pattern -- in particular a large randomized controlled trial of induction in a sample of large, urban, low- income schools -- which found significant positive effects on student achievement, but no effects on either teacher retention or teachers' classroom practices. Our review closes by attempting to reconcile these seemingly contradictory findings and also by identifying gaps in the research base, and relevant questions that have not been addressed and warrant further research."

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